ORLANDO, Fla. — Three paid petition circulators have been charged by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their involvement in separate fraud schemes.
33-year-old LaShaya Denice Pierce, of Tallahassee, was arrested last week on five felony counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, five felony counts of false swearing and two misdemeanor counts of signing a petition more than once.
According to FDLE, their investigation into Pierce began back in January of 2022 after the Leon County Supervisor of Elections and the Florida Department of State asked FDLE to take a closer look at petitions Pierce had submitted that were suspected of being fraudulent.
Investigators say all the petitions had similar handwriting and either lacked a valid signature or contained identical information to other petitions. Others had no voter information on record at all for the person who signed them.
After conducting interviews and executing social media search warrants, investigators determined Pierce used the personal information of social media users without their consent to submit the falsified petitions.
Pierce was booked into the Leon County jail and is being held on $38,000 bond. All of the petitions Pierce submitted were subsequently rejected.
A separate investigation led to the arrests of two people accused of using the personal identification information of dead people on fraudulent petitions.
31-year-old Daytona Beach resident Arterria McCutcheon was arrested on October 19 on nine felony counts of fraudulent use of the personal identification information of a deceased individual. 26-year-old Nelson Stone, of Apopka, was arrested the following day on five felony counts of the same charge.
The FDLE investigations into Stone and McCutheon started back in February of this year when the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections forwarded copies of potentially fraudulent petitions to FDLE that contained the names and signatures of people who were known to be deceased.
FDLE’s Election Crime Unit inspectors reviewed records and data provided by the Florida Department of State’s Office of Election Crimes and Security. They then obtained death records and compared the signatures of the deceased people to the signatures on the petitions and determined they were fraudulent.
According to FDLE, Stone and McCutcheon also submitted fraudulent petitions to the Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange County Supervisors of Elections for multiple constitutional amendment initiatives.
Stone was booked into the Seminole County jail on a total of $22,500 bond while McCutcheon was booked into the Volusia County jail on a $45,000 bond.
All three cases will be prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
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